Wystan's 2012 Essen List
Wystan Benbow
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Stoneham
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This Games & Expansions I am watching as Spiel 2012 approaches.

As we all know, the annual Spiel Fair in Essen features the debut of hundreds of games. Typically I find that around 15 of these games rise above the crowd and are worth adding to my collection. This geeklist summarizes the Essen titles I am most interested in this year, and gives some positive and negative comments. It also gives my level of interest. Naturally this is mostly meant to help myself keep track of things, but feel free to chime in.

I pretty much have all the older games I really want, so I eagerly await Spiel 2012!

I used the BGG Spiel preview to generate the following, and I have already pre-ordered a number of these games.
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1. Board Game Publisher: Winsome Games
Wystan Benbow
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I have every Winsome game (literally). Thus ordering their annual Essen set is a no brainier. It cost $150 to purchase including shipping. I already have the set in hand.

Contains:
Thousand Islands Railway
1830 Cardgame
Age of Steam Expansion: Hungary
SNCF: The Netherlands
Colorado Midland: Mayors
West Riding Revisited: Hull & Barnsley
West Riding Revisited: Free Mergers
 
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2. Board Game Publisher: AoS Team
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Alban Viard typically releases a few maps every year for Age of Steam.
Since I have most of the maps, I order these to keep up the collection.

This year included:
Age of Steam Expansion: Las Vegas and Korea (N&S)
Age of Steam Expansion: Tibet and Cyprus
SNCF: The Moon/Mars

The cost was $70, delivered. I already have the maps in hand.

Ordered Town Center at the same time. I played it once; it was not fun and I sold it to Clearclaw at cost.

 
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3. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:377] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
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Deck building meets Winsome & from the String Railway folks. I'll definitely give it a shot. Components look very, very nice for an Indie production. Early reviews indicate it is fun & I can almost certainly recoup my initial expense if not

Pre-bought this from Japon brand. $96 delivered. Will be shipped from Essen by Simon.

The game has arrived & it even came with promo map (Germany / Northeastern US). Looks amazing...
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4. Board Game: Trick of the Rails [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:2232]
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18xx inspired trick-taking game & since it is Japon brand, it will go quickly / will be hard to find. So it is an auto-buy. I don't love trick-taking games, so I am a bit worried, but I probably can sell near cost if I don't like it.

Pre-bought this from Japon brand. $24, delivered. Will be shipped from Essen by Simon.

The game has arrived. A bit stunned at how cheap the tuck box is.
 
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5. Board Game: Fleet [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:709]
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After watching a bunch of videos and since it is getting good early feedback for a card game, I went ahead and purchased this one.

$17 from CSI, delivered.

The game is in hand and the box is fortunately half the size of the previous Gryphon Bookshelf offerings.
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6. Board Game: Snowdonia [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:350]
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It's a train-themed worker placement game. Only 45 minutes and has excellent initial feedback. Welsh theme is a big plus, says the guy with the Welsh first & last names.

Pre-ordered from FunAgain. $56 including shipping.
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7. Board Game: Express 01 [Average Rating:5.14 Overall Rank:14932]
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Sounded like a nice, new, expandable train game from Eggert Spiele. I figured it was worth a try, but was disappointed to hear it was just a card game. I thought there were maps, etc.

"Kickstarted" via Spiel Offensive. $78, delivered.

This might be the game that gets me to abandon the Kickstarted craze. Hope I am not disappointed, especially given the price.
 
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8. Board Game: Locomotive Werks [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:2754]
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I already have the Winsome version, but anytime I can upgrade that to Queen quality components, I will. Good game that hopefully plays faster with my MA gaming crew & will be easier to get to the table in a prettier version.

Kickstarted for $49, delivered.
 
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9. Board Game: Ground Floor [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1016]
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I play tested this with David Short (the designer), who I used to game with occasionally. I liked the early version, although I am worried it is still a bit too long. Hope Seth managed to develop this well. I am also friendly with the Tasty Minstrel crew, so I generally support their (big) games.

Kickstarted for $50, delivered. Didn't know initially that it was an Essen release.
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10. Board Game: Skyline [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:3464]
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I know little about this one, aside from that it is a quick dice game related to building multi-level structures. It is a Kickstarter bonus for Ground Floor.

Free, delivered. Didn't know initially that it was an Essen release.
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11. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:44]
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Richard Breese's latest. I like Keythedral and Keymarket, so I will take the plunge. Even If I don't enjoy it, I can probably sell it near cost later.

Pre-ordered & order number provided by Richard. $92.58 delivered.
 
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12. Board Game: Al Rashid [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:3499]
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Knew it was wise to keep an eye on this one. Looks great, lots of custom bits and the game play seems right up my alley (bidding, area majority and engine building). The early ratings are very good and the BGG video was well done (by the author).

Pre-ordered from Fun Again; Only $95 delivered -- yikes; it was a 60 Euro game at Spiel so I don't feel too bad.
 
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13. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:8]
Wystan Benbow
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The early feedback has hooked me; This one only didn't make my list initially because of the fantasy theme and my fears it was a Small World clone.

After watching the BGG Essen Video, it looks like it is right up my alley. Lots of painful decisions, technology trees, area majority + spatial aspects as well.

Pre-ordered from Fun Again for $105 delivered. Another 60 Euro game, that would cost 36 Euro to deliver to the US.
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14. Board Game: Saint Malo [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1804]
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New, light weight Alea medium box game. The drawing mechanic seems unnecessary & I hope it isn't annoying.

Automatic buy (I have all the Alea games)

Price: 25 Euro
 
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15. Board Game: Power Grid: Northern Europe/United Kingdom & Ireland [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
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I have all the power grid maps; need to keep the collection going.
An Irish map is just icing on the cake!

Automatic buy
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16. Board Game: The Palaces of Carrara [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:547]
Wystan Benbow
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Kiesling & Kramer team up with Hans in Glueck. Should be a great, short medium-weight game.

Interest: 4/4; almost automatic buy

Price: 44 Euro
 
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17. Board Game: Le Havre: The Inland Port [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:818]
Wystan Benbow
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2-player, 30 min game from Uwe Rosenberg / Lookout Games. Combines Ora & Labora wheel mechanic with building construction and use ala Le Havre; Buildings go on the wheel & can pay to use another player's. I am very interested, but definitely want to check the early buzz first.

Interest level: 4/4; almost automatic buy

Online Pre-order: $26
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18. Board Game: Troyes: The Ladies of Troyes [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
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Troyes is brilliant & I play it enough to justify an expansion.

Interest level: 3/4; will probably buy, but no rush

Estimated price: 22 Euro
 
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19. Board Game: Dixit 3: Journey [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
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More cards for Dixit. Would rather buy a deck than a stand-alone game (Journey) as marketed in the US. 84 new cards; completely new artistic team.

Interest: 3/4; will probably buy, but no rush

Price: 20 Euro
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20. Board Game: Suburbia [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:94]
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It is good to see Ted Alspach branch out from silly fillers and the like. Given his love for Age of Steam, I have some hope for his foray into economic games. This tile laying, city builder looks promising. However, I worry about needing to memorize all the buildings to enjoy this one. I usually like games from Lookout.

Level of Interest: 2/4; would like to try before I buy

Price: $60
 
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21. Board Game: Swordfish [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:9040]
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Some day there is going to be a good fishing-themed game. I hope this one is it; I enjoy all of the mechanics listed; it almost seems like a rail game.

Level of Interest: 1/4; I will read some reviews, but have significant doubts

Price: 45 Euro
 
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22. Board Game: Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2108]
Wystan Benbow
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Post-Essen addition to this list.

A heavy economic game with pick up & deliver, as well as worker placement mechanisms. Worried about the length, but like the nautical theme.

69 euro, before delivery. Need to think hard about this one.

http://www.spielworxx.de/
 
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23. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:320]
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Post-Essen addition to the list. Will likely get, but will wait for the Z-man version to arrive. Still wavering on the simultaneous action selection, as it is not a mechanic that I love.

However a clever 45 minute game is always appealing.

Looks like $29 is the rough olgs price.
 
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24. Board Game: The Great North American Bird Watching Trivia Game [Average Rating:6.10 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
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These are the games that have promise, but I am 99% certain are flawed. Undoubtedly one or two will be good enough to buy, so I will watch their ratings & eventually read a review or two if they rate well after 50 votes.
These are ranked in order that I think I would enjoy them.

1) Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar: Neat theme & moving parts; Everyone loves CGE games, but me. They are rated well enough to keep an eye on though.

2) VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The theme can't be beat & already on a second edition, with good ratings. Indie

3) Massilia: Vanuatu was brilliant, so this one is worth watching. Worried about the one-hit wonder phenomena. Indie

4) Tahiti: Possibly an interesting, short mid-weight game; Queen picked this up

5) The Great Zimbabwe: Splotter games are always intriguing, but often too long / fiddly and not every one is a hit.

6) CO₂: From the maker of Vinhos; If he actually found an editor for this one & it clocks in at under 2 h, then it has promise; Stronghold

7) Fleet: Another hope for a good Nautical game. Gryphon -- Purchased

8) La Loire: Resource management, pick-up and deliver, trading; Has some possibility & I like France; Indie

9) Noblemen: New Tasty Minstrel import; Seth & Michael have a good eye

10) The Doge Ship: Somewhat tired Venetian theme, but a dice game with auctions might be appealing; Not sure about the action points though. Rio Grande picked this up.
 
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25. Board Game: Long Shot [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1321]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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These games only make the list for weak reasons; I am almost certain they will not be good enough, but something keeps me interested. These are in no particular order

Selected by mechanics:
1) Chicago: 4-player-only Mafia game from Japon Brand; That 2nd place wins is unique, but could be irritating.

2) Archipelago: Probably a winner for most, but I am not sure about the negotiation / backstabbing mechanic; it will annoy me. Ludically is also not a purveyor of games I typically enjoy.

3) Expedition: Northwest Passage: Another hope for a good Nautical game, but I don't like action points & the early ratings are poor; Matagot

4) Madeira: Civ-style game with resource management; Could be promising; What's Your Game

5) New Amsterdam: An auction-based economic game; I like those; White Goblin

6) Pyramidion: A tactical, Civ-building card game; Worth keeping an eye on; White Goblin

7) Al Rashid: Arabian, Civ-game with worker placement. Worth keeping an eye on; looks nice for an Indie -- Purchased

Designer-selected:
8) Card City: Alban Viard deserves a look since he is an Age of Steam nut, but after Town Center, I am cautious

9) Tweeeet: Looks pretty & Cwali is always worth a look. Generally, his games don't make the cut in my collection


10) Taschkent: Maybe Peer gets it right this time; Singapore was OK, but ultimately forgettable; it had enough promise to keep me looking at his games

11) Qin: Pegasus & Knizia; Foolish to dismiss him, but what has Knizia done lately

12) Spectaculum: Knizia; Foolish to dismiss him, but what has he done lately; Fantasy theme grates a bit

Publisher-selected:
13) Amber: Going to keep an eye on Rebel products after K2

14) The Cave: Going to keep an eye on Rebel products after K2

15) Mercurius: Going to keep an eye on Rebel products after K2; stock game


16) Myrmes: Ystari is worth keeping an eye on. Rio Grande picked this up. Too bad there is next to no information posted
& Ystari hasn't had a hit in a while.

17) Goblins, Inc.: Everyone loves CGE games, but me. They are rated well enough to keep an eye on though. Seems like one of their build & destroy games, which are not my cup of tea; weird coop aspect

Theme-selected: There are always a few of these that catch my eye at Essen & they almost always bomb. Theme is often the worst reason to buy a game.

18) 1969: Space race + Astrophysicist = worth consideration

19) Steam Park: Amusement park games always intrigue me.

20) 1984: Animal Farm: Some of my favorite books....

21) The Great Museum: I work for the Smithsonian; thus museum games deserve a look
 
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